Sony Xperia Z review: Zero hour

GSMArena team, 17 February 2013.

Tags: Sony, Android

Introduction

Whether they had a point to prove to the ex or simply kept themselves busy to get over it, Sony were hard at work in the last year or so. They can look back at a prolific period, though somewhat lacking in brilliance. Keen to quickly build a lineup from scratch, the company was consciously avoiding fights that were impossible to win. Steering clear of the premium end, Sony positioned its flagship devices just below the Samsung Galaxies and the iPhones.


Sony Xperia Z official photos

Now with solid backup in the midrange, returning to the fiercest battle in the mobile market is Sony's top priority. The Xperia Z, which leads the charge, got us properly impressed in a recent hands-on and if it walks unscathed from a complete review, we'll know the Japanese have hit the form of their life. Sony is the first of the major manufacturers to bring 5 inches of 1080p goodness to the market, which not only is a morale booster, but will get cash registers chiming too.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; 3G with HSPA; LTE
  • 5" 16M-color 1080p capacitive touchscreen with 441ppi pixel density; Bravia Mobile Engine 2
  • Android OS v4.1.1 Jelly Bean with custom UI
  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU, 2 GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset
  • 13 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geo-tagging, HDR
  • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with HDR mode, continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  • 2.2 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • IP 57 certification - dust resistant and water resistant
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA; Wireless TV out
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 16GB of built-in storage; microSD card slot
  • MHL-enabled microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Glass front and back panels

Main disadvantage

  • Low contrast display with below-par viewing angles
  • Non user-replaceable battery
  • 13MP camera hardly any better than some competitors' 8MP units
  • Feeble loudspeaker

The Sony Xperia Z is stuff geeks' dreams are made of, it's designed and built to the highest standard and has raw processing power to spare. IP57-certified - on top of that - for dust and water resistance, it's tougher than most competitors. High-end smartphones aren't quite fit for the beach or white water rafting, but the Xperia Z won't be at odds with your active lifestyle.

Sony Xperia Z Sony Xperia Z Sony Xperia Z Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z studio shots

The Xperia Z seems to have all the best technology currently available under the hood, so no wonder it's been at or near the top of our interest chart ever since it was announced at CES. And now, just one week away from its European release, we are about to see how likely it is to stay there for a good while.

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